Stop asking me how my baby sleeps
Before I had a baby I never expected that random strangers would stop me with my baby and ask, ‘does he sleep?’ or even worse, ‘is he good?’.
Now luckily the answer to these questions is that yes my baby does sleep. And of course he is very good. He is the best mostly lovely beautiful baby ever, and he isn’t yet old enough to know what acting ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is anyway.
However if you are asking whether my baby is “good” meaning does he drift off to sleep by himself quietly in his crib and sleep right through the night. The answer is no, nowhere close.
My baby only goes to sleep if I feed him and he only stays asleep if he is touching me (apart from sometimes if I push him in his pram). The crib we lovingly purchased before he was born is a glorified laundry basket. He wakes up several times a night for a feed, but in between this time he does sleep.
This is because he is a normal baby. It is biologically normal for my baby to wake up during the night. It is biologically normal for him to want to be close to his mother. He is after all a little mammal and funnily enough most little mammals don’t realise that they are part of Western society which expects them to sleep alone on their backs in a cot with no bedding.
If you want to ask me a useful question about sleep, you could ask me how I am coping with sleep. My baby is coping completely fine, but sometimes I find it hard getting enough sleep around him. Although it’s usually only when my baby is teething, when I am anxious or when he is having a growth spurt I really struggle with sleep.
Sleep has been much better since I realised that bedsharing with my baby is not actually dangerous (the news stories you read about tragic accidents mostly involve unsafe setups, alcohol or drugs). I’ve followed guidance from the Lullaby Trust about how to do it safely and read up on it extensively. Many babies just will not sleep alone, and it feels instinctive and right to have my baby next to me.
But actually if you are a stranger and see me with my baby, there is no need to ask me about sleep at all. Perhaps just tell me how lovely my baby is, if you want to say something to me.